1. Israel wins the Eurovision
Twenty years after its last win, Israel brought home the trophy - and the competition - at the 2018 Eurovision in Lisbon. Netta Barzilai's hit song "Toy" became a smash hit in Israel and conquered the hearts of Europeans as well. And come May 2019, the contest will hit the shores of Tel Aviv for an unforgettable week of music.
2. Prince William pays a visit
In June the UK's Prince William made the first ever official visit by the British royal family to Israel. The duke met with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, visited Yad Vashem and the Tel Aviv beach and even took a stroll with Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai.
3. Israeli TV conquers the globe
US networks can't get enough of Israeli TV. Netflix picked up the Keshet show When Hereos Fly, ABC is planning a remake of the Keshet show Lihiyot Ita (Beauty and the Baker) while CBS is slated to adapt both the HOT show Uri and Ella and the Yes series Ta'agad. HBO said it is remaking the HOT series Nevelot as well as the HOT show Euphoria, and the Reshet comedy Nevsu brought Israel a rare win at the International Emmy Awards last month.
4. Gal Gadot continues to soar
She's already a global star, but Gal Gadot shows no signs of slowing down. In 2018 she filmed the sequel to Wonder Woman, starred in the animated Ralph Breaks the Internet, landed a role in the art heist thriller Red Notice with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, was cast as Hedy Lamarr in a Showtime series and announced she is producing a film about Fidel Castro.
5. Musicians flock to Israel
Everyone from Alanis Morissette to Enrique Iglesias, Clean Bandit, The Chainsmokers, Don McLean, The Backstreet Boys, Ozzy Osbourne, Ziggy Marley, Jason Derulo, Pusha T, A$AP Ferg, Jethro Tull, Maluma and many more performed in Israel in 2018, despite calls from Roger Waters and other BDS activists to boycott the Jewish state.
6. BDS takes a toll
While dozens of international concerts were held in Israel this year, the BDS movement still had an impact in 2018. In addition to Lana Del Rey, 10 other acts pulled out of the September Meteor Festival amid controversy (Del Rey said she didn't support BDS but would only perform in both Israel and the Palestinian territories). Separately, Brazilian musician Gilberto Gil canceled over the Gaza flareup and rappers Tyga, Fat Joe and Grandmaster Flash pulled out citing "security reasons."
7. Sacha Baron Cohen makes us squirm
Actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen revels in making audiences squirm. And Israelis should have felt a combination of revulsion and shock at his character Eran Morrad - a purported Mossad agent in his Showtime series Who is America? The buzzed-about series perfectly showcased Americans' fetishization of Israeli machismo, and nobody came away looking good.
8. Roseanne melts down
Actress and comedian Roseanne Barrdid not have a great 2018. The Jewish star was fired from her own show's revival after her racist online meltdown. She vowed to move to Israel and run for prime minister (she didn't) - and is slated to address the Knesset in January. 9. Natalie Portman brouhaha
Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman got a whole lot of people riled up earlier this year when she pulled out of the Genesis Prize ceremony in Jerusalem, citing her lack of support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the government's actions in Gaza. Her decision garnered both harsh condemnations and expressions of support. 10. Those we lost
A slate of Jewish and Israeli culture icons passed away this year, including Amos Oz, Anthony Bourdain, Charles Krauthammer, Stan Lee, Claude Lanzmann, Philip Roth and Neil Simon. Edited by Natan Rothstein